‘Soviet-Style Amtrak’

Written by SK Ashby

It's been only two days since House Republicans voted to cut Amtrak funding, again, but Representative John Mica (R-FL) insist that Amtrak itself is the problem.

The United States has a third-world rail system, it’s a monopoly run in a Soviet-style operation, Amtrak,” Mica, the former chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said on CNN’s “Newsroom” on Friday.

He's not necessarily wrong that we have a "third-world rail system," but whose fault is that?

Is it the fault of Amtrak, or is the fault of congressmen who perpetually underfund Amtrak?

“It’s not how much money you spend, it’s where you spend the money, and we are spending billions.”

I'm fairly certain that "how much money you spend" plays a role here. And we are not spending multiple billion(s). Amtrak's current budget would be cut from $1.4 billion to $1.1 billion if Republicans have their way.

Representative Mica wants to privatize Amtrak, which is confusing because he insists that the amount of money we spend on the program is not the problem, but privatizing the program would cost far more. No private company could properly operate and maintain Amtrak and provide the level of service that is expected of them, while generating a profit, for the amount of money that Mica and his Republican colleagues want to spend on it.

Money is the problem, and we are not spending enough. We woefully underfund infrastructure across the entire nation.